"Théodore, Guillaume, and the Cacos" by Joseph Jérémie

An excerpt from Jérémie’s Mémoires. Jérémie was was an intellectual and statesman who was poltical rivals with Anténor Firmin. Below, he tries to explain why peasants became militia, "cacos," and why they helped Davilmar Théodore and, later, Vilbrun Guillaume, become president.

I knew Davilmar Théodore for twenty four years. Théodore was a senator back in 1911. And he hoped to one day become the commander in the small town of Ouanaminthe [near the Dominican border]. At the time, he and I were in the [national] legislature, as was our colleague, Vilbrun Guillaume. These two men would both become president, but would be overthrown by the cacos who put them in power.

In this study we will try to understand why the cacos overthrew the "ephemeral governments" [a term used to describe the brief presidencies of Tancrède Auguste, Michel Oreste, Oreste Zamor, Davilmar Thédore, and Vilbrun Guillaume]. In the little time that I have spent in the perilous north, I have come to this conclusion: the true caco is ready to sacrifice his life for a cause that he believes is just. His ignorance[, however, allows others] to exploit his sensibility.

This man who would devote himself [to a revolution] does not like it when someone takes what is his. But he gives voluntarily to those whom he supports. He welcomes the insurgents who maraud in his fields because they are unhappy and hungry. But he sees the state as a criminal because it takes what he has planted.